This refers to “Foundations for health policy” by Ajay Shah (January 14). The author has given a fascinating insight into the nature of health care delivery. Indian people traditionally view getting sick as a fatalistic event. Hence, the nature of the transaction between a doctor and a patient is primarily an event-based interaction. Prevention strategies are difficult to enforce as health care delivery remains low on the priority for strategic planners.
Despite documented effects of adverse air quality on long-term health (higher incidence of non-communicable diseases), there has been no visible reduction or voluntary initiative by citizens to reduce their dependence on motor vehicles. Manufacturers, aided and abetted by strong lobbyists, have conveniently circumvented rules and regulations dealing with emissions. While it is convenient to blame medical providers for over-dependence on multiple procedures, health care delivery is exceedingly complicated to merit oversimplification. Dietary factors have contributed to an increasing incidence of obesity with major multinationals advertising their products as a lifestyle choice. There is a conscious consumption of poor quality meat away from vegetables.
Public health care delivery systems have capped prices purely from grants from the government. The cost for consultation, for example, has been kept artificially low (or free). The politics on general insurance has curtailed intelligent conversation towards mass adoption of electronic medical records and population data that could give clear insights into disease trends.
A preventive approach to healthcare would require massive re-engineering of the socialist-era mindset where people are encouraged to partner with their healthcare providers for optimal health. Common sense shouldn’t be sacrificed at the altar of populism that brings harm to people.
Abhishek Puri Mohali
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